The limiting part of the certification process of the LL-block system in general and LL-products in particular is the necessity to gather experience from operational service of a new product within a short time period but covering all meteorological conditions as well as all operation requirements (long slopes, high mileage, different loading conditions, speed profiles etc.).
In the recent 9th meeting of the Directors General of the European Railways in Berlin, 27 railways (nearly 90 % of the participants) signed the resolution on „’Europe Train’ to Speed up and Improve LL Brake Block Testing in Operations“, thus showing their clear will to support a successful development of LL brake blocks as a means for cost-effective noise reduction at the source. It was proposed to form a small expert team instantaneously to prepare all necessary technical and financial details to run this train.
According to this decision a Workshop was to be organized to define a working program and budget estimation for the new project.
Between 5th and 7th October 2009 representatives from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands met at UIC HQ in Paris invited by Mr. Gräber (DB) in charge for the technical part of the Noise abatement program of UIC.
It was decided unanimously that the major objectives would be the search for a solution of the increase in equivalent conicity encountered at wheelsets of wagons equipped with LL brake blocks. A second major goal would be an accelerated procedure of service tests as well as to use the train as possibility to test and eventually certify new products.
A first version of a Working Program was jointly drafted and will be completed by a scheme for a proposed route for the train, a selection of wagons to be used as well as to friction products to be used. Budget estimation will be added as soon as the track access charges and the traction costs of the countries through which the test train will run have been determined.
After completion of all necessary documents a consolidated Working Program with related budget will be presented to the European Regional Assembly during it’s meeting in December. After a hopefully positive decision the concrete planning of the European Test Train could start with the beginning 2010.